ANCIENT INDIANA METROPOLIS

 

 

A thousand years ago, Evansville was home to a thriving community of Mississippian Indians on the banks of the Ohio River. Archaeologists are uncovering the mysteries of these past inhabitants by combing over artifacts they left behind.

 

About Angel Mounds

 

Located on the banks of the Ohio River in southwest Indiana, Angel Mounds State Historic Site is one of the best-preserved pre-contact Native American sites in North America. Built between A.D. 1050 and 1400, the town was occupied by 1,000 plus Mississippians. The society built 11 earthen mounds as platforms to elevate important buildings. The original town covered an area of 103 acres and served as an important religious, political and trade center for people living within a 75-mile radius.

 

The site was abandoned before European explorers came to North America. Possible explanations for abandonment are depletion of natural resources, climatic changes or the collapse of the chiefdom.

 

More than 600 acres comprise Angel Mounds State Historic Site. The site includes an interpretive center, recreations of the Mississippian buildings and a working reconstruction of the 1939 WPA archaeology laboratory. The 500-acre non-archaeological portion of the site contains a nature preserve with hiking and biking trails.

 Mississippian Culture

 

Mississippian culture was innovative and the first to extensively exploit agriculture and build permanent communities with thousands of residents. This economic and social system was made possible by the widespread cultivation of corn, which was nutritious and could be stored in large quantities. The town here lends its name to the Angel phase of Mississippian culture, found near the confluence of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers from the late 11th through the early 15th centuries.

After more than 300 years of constant occupation, the town was abandoned. By 1450, the site was empty, and no one knows for sure why the inhabitants left. The local supply of wood and game would have been depleted. Intense agriculture might have overworked the soil. There is no indication of attack from outside, but there may have been internal political upheavals. The reasons they left are questions archaeologists continue to research. The Mississippians dispersed but continued in the Ohio River valley through the early 1600s. These later Mississippians were also gone before the arrival of Europeans in Indiana.

Archaeology at Angel Mounds and 
the WPA Archaeology Laboratory
 
 

In historic times, the site was a working farm of the Angel family. In 1938, with a donation from Mr. Eli Lilly, the Indiana Historical Society purchased the land to protect it from development. Starting in 1939, under the direction of Glenn A. Black, a crew of 277 Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers began excavating the site, recovering over 2.5 million artifacts.

The site was transferred to the State of Indiana in 1946, with Indiana University continuing the archaeological work. A replica of the original WPA building was built on the site in early 2013. The building contains exhibits on the WPA and its contribution to the site’s research. The new lab facility is open during all site excavations and during special events.

Indiana University/Glenn A. Black Lab is responsible for excavations and research on the site. 

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VISIT

ANGEL MOUNDS

 

HOURS

Angel Mounds is open year-round!
Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.

Closed on Mondays except Memorial Day, May 26 and Labor Day, September 1.

TICKETS 

Purchase admission tickets in the Angel Mounds Interpretive Center.

Adults $5
Seniors* $4
Children* $2
Students $2
Children under 3 FREE

 

Indiana State Museum members and members of other State Historic Sites Friends Groups get FREE admission and a 10 percent discount in the gift shop!

*Child: ages 3 through 12
*Senior: age 60 and older

Group/School Tours: Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more and for school groups. Call 812.853.3956 to schedule your group.

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING

Get directions to Angel Mounds State Historic Site.

Where to park
Parking is available at the Angel Mounds Interpretive Center.

 

 

Contact us 

 

STAFF


Mike Linderman
Site Manager
mlinderman@indianamuseum.org 

Haley Tallman
Program Developer
htallman@indianamuseum.org

Jim Burton
Site Naturalist
jburton@indianamuseum.org

Heather Stone
Education Assistant
hstone@indianamuseum.org

 

Angel Mounds State Historic Site


8215 Pollack Ave.
Evansville, IN 47715


Phone: 812.853.3956
Fax: 812.858.7686
Emailangelmoundsshs@indianamuseum.org

EDUCATION EVENTS & STANDARDS

AT ANGEL MOUNDS

 

A thousand years ago, Evansville was home to a thriving community of Mississippian Indians on the banks of the Ohio River. Each year, archaeologists come closer to uncovering the mysteries of these past inhabitants by combing over artifacts they left behind. Your students will make very personal connections with this prehistoric Native American culture and the natural landscape.

 

Academic topics covered:

  • Prehistoric Native American culture (Mississippian ca. 1000 — 1400 A.D.)
  • Archaeology
  • Nature
  • Star lore

 

Grades 3 – 12
MoundQuest

Fee: $2 per student

 

 

Take a walk in Mississippian footsteps on this guided tour of the ancient village site.


 
Grades PreK – 12
Birds, Berries, Beavers & Bark

Fee: $2 per student
 

Discover how the “bare necessities” gave Mississippians the means to not only survive but thrive.

 

 

Corn Maze

 

All October
3 - 7 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday 
3 - 9 p.m. Fridays
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturdays
1 - 5 p.m. Sundays 
Closed Mondays
$3 per person


 


Get lost in the maize! Acres of mystery and fun await you at the Angel Mounds Corn Maze - where twists and turns create an ancient design that’ll keep you guessing and giggling the whole way. Navigate the maze, collecting stamps from the maize guardians, and enter to win a special prize. Concessions will be available for purchase, and an open fire will be ongoing for weenie roasting and s’more.

Friday and Saturday from 7 - 9 p.m. feature flashlight trick-or-treating and seasonal games and treats. This is a BYOF (Bring your own flashlight.) event; or make a $5 returnable deposit to use one of Angel Mounds’. Those who make it through, collecting each piece of candy, will receive a free s‘mores packet and the chance to enter a prize drawing.

 

 Grand opening special: 2-for-1 with paid Native American Days admission (Sept. 26-28).
Get lost in the maize! Full of twists and turns that create an ancient spider design, the maze is delightful for all ages. Navigate the maze, collecting stamps from the maize guardians, and enter to win a special prize. Extended hours every Friday and Saturday feature flashlight trick-or-treating. This is a BYOF (Bring your own flashlight.) event; or make a $5 returnable deposit to use one of ours. Those who make it through, collecting each piece of candy, will receive a free s‘mores to cook on an open fire and the chance to enter a prize drawing. Concessions will be available for purchase.
Grand opening special: 2-for-1 with paid Native American Days admission (Sept. 26-28).
A culmination of everything Angel Mounds has to offer, "Native American Days" spans space and time to present a complete narrative of Native American life.  Performances will feature enchanting music, traditional dancing and storytelling. The event also includes numerous demonstrations and hands-on activities, many of which teach simple survival skills such as fire-making by hand, stone tool manufacturing and river cane processing. In addition, Native American vendors come from far and wide to not only sell their wares but demonstrate their crafts in the Indian Market. For those led by their hunger, a concessionaire is on-hand to sell traditional American foods as well as Indian tacos, fry bread, and other contemporary Native American staples.

The event kicks off with "Field Trip Friday," which welcomes over 2,000 area students, and continues through Sunday. Accessible transportation is provided for persons with mobility limitations.

 

Rental Information

 

The site is available to rent for special events. There are also rooms available in the Interpretive Center for groups up to 80. For more information, please contact Mike Linderman, Site Manager, at 812.853.3956 or by e-mail at mlinderman@indianamuseum.org.